I did a 100 Days of Design Challenge. Here's how it went:

Note: This post was originally published on 2/16/17. To see all 100 days, search the hashtag #simpleenick on Instagram.

After 5 months at my first "real" job, I began to experience a horrible truth; I'm not utilizing my abilities to my full potential.

Now, this isn't necessarily a bad thing; I still meet deadlines, produce solid content/graphics, and get my work done. But since I work in a corporate environment, I had to hold back a lot of my more creative ideas because my company abides by specific brand standards. More specifically, I can only use certain typefaces, colors, images, so my designs can meet the company brand standards. I have no problem with following these guidelines, but after a few months of following these guidlines, I realized something; it gets dull. 

I needed to find a way to break up this monotony.

 

One of my friends found a way to “get the creative juices flowing” by taking on a 100 Days of Design challenge, where she would design something, every day, for 100 days. She then posted each design on Instagram using a unique hashtag. (#100daysofhay, for those interested) I had considered doing a challenge like this for a while, but I couldn’t find the motivation to start, until another friend of mine started his own “100 days” challenge. As soon as I saw his first post, I thought to myself “meh, why not?” and decided to jump on the bandwagon.

Going into this challenge, I made sure to lay down some ground rules with myself:

  1. Do not spend more than an hour on your creation.

  2. Do not get discouraged when you fail.

  3. Keep it awesome.

There were several times throughout my 100 days where I failed. There was a point where I went 4 or so days without creating anything, and I felt horrible. However, I pushed through and made up for each day I had missed. I had creations that I was not-so-proud of, and creations that surprised me.

There were a few reasons I felt compelled to do this challenge:

1. I need a creative outlet

Whether it's sketching, shooting, designing, editing, cooking, I've come to realize I feel more fulfilled and satisfied when I'm creating/doing. For me (and many others), there's the constant struggle of never being satisfied with what I have created. I'm always striving to "do better" and improve in areas where I feel I have lacked in. I have difficulty sticking to one particular subject matter or style when it comes to art, which makes it hard to really define my own style. I'm fascinated by the work my friends, colleagues, and peers produce, and it inspires me to go out there and “do.” (for lack of a better term)

2. I need to be challenged

My biggest fear is becoming stagnant and dull, not only in my art but in my life. The only way to grow as a person is to be challenged and push myself to be reasonably uncomfortable in art and in life.

3. I need to be held accountable.

No one forced me to do this challenge, so it’s almost harder to stay on top of it when I’m the only one holding myself accountable. A couple things that helped me stay focused on this project were: The fact I was posting each creation to social media, and, doing the challenge alongside a friend. Even though my friend, Aaron, is a couple hundred miles away, it was refreshing and inspiring to see his designs each day.

4. What else was I going to do?

I’ve found myself being lazy and lacking in my free time. It’s easy to fall back on Netflix or play on your phone after work, but I found myself feeling more satisfied and happier with myself after I finished a creation. 

This project helped me realize many things about myself, but most of all, I think it helped me fully realize some feelings I’ve had for quite some time, but I could never find a word to explain them, until just recently. (Thanks to my 100 days challenge, I dedicated my last post to this word)

Monachopsis: n. the subtle but persistent feeling of being out of place, as maladapted to your surroundings as a seal on a beach—lumbering, clumsy, easily distracted, huddled in the company of other misfits, unable to recognize the ambient roar of your intended habitat, in which you'd be fluidly, brilliantly, effortlessly at home.

Monachopsis: n. the subtle but persistent feeling of being out of place, as maladapted to your surroundings as a seal on a beach—lumbering, clumsy, easily distracted, huddled in the company of other misfits, unable to recognize the ambient roar of your intended habitat, in which you'd be fluidly, brilliantly, effortlessly at home.

Source: https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/simpleenick/